During the Masters-program I have learned what I found important in the process of design. I recognized patterns of how I perform, what my interests are and where my qualities lay in design projects. I considered my Final Master Project as the opportunity to show what kind of designer I am and what kind of quality I wish the reach in my work. I believe this is shown in my participatory design approach of the development of KnapZack, the amount of stakeholders and the depth of the cooperation with them and of course my final design ‘KnapZack’ as a concept for transformation.
Here I will discuss how I learned and developed myself in these three elements.
During my Bachelor at Industrial Design I discovered I had great affinity with experience design. I developed my knowledge in experience design largely during my internship at Tinker Imagineers and from that point on I used it as the direction for my designs.
Module Remediating Media M1.1
When I started my Master I did the project Smart Festoons and the module Remediating Media, which both focus on creating experiences. While I learned ways in creating experiences, I also found that there was something I missed. I learned that when I created experiences just for the sake of creating an experience for the user (participant), the concept is mostly for entertainment purposes. What I missed was a meaningful element that would give the experience a purpose.
Module Dreaming Democracies M1.2
This I discovered during the module Dreaming Democracies in my M1.2 semester. Here I learned how design can play an important role in the transformation of societal institutions. During the module we used the health sector as the context for transformation and practiced to design for the purpose enabling people to transform. From that point I knew that this was a purpose of design that I had always liked.
Module Persuasive Technology M1.2
During the module Persuasive Technology, which I choose to learn more about how to create a change of behavior of people, I learned that transformation is not about changing behavior in a short term. I created a concept that would persuade people to keep quiet in the library, but this would not transform their perception after they left the library. Transformational concepts actually change the way people think and behave in the long term.
Final Design FMP 'KnapZack'
In the first phase of my Final Master Project I developed my own approach to transformation design. I believe that design can empower people to transform, which means giving them the insights and tools to do so. In case of my Final Master Project, the tool is KnapZack. This allows children to store their learning experiences in a meaningful way. Yet it will also show the teachers, schools and other stakeholders the insight that we can use such a tool to personalize our education system in other ways.
project Smart Festoons M1.1
Co-creation is the most satisfying form of design I believe. During my first Master project Smart Festoons I created a moving hanging sculpture of thread and wood. Although the results were ok, I learned I missed the involvement of the user in my design process and that this would have added the extra quality to my project that I had hoped to achieve. I did not only want to design for the user, but also with the user. The next projects I did in my Master were all chosen so I could involve the user more in my design process.
project Smallplayer M1.2R1
I struggled to achieve a more user involved design process during my project Social Co-creation Platforms, so I needed to be more specific on the methods that I could use in a participatory design approach. In my research project with Smallplayer I learned how design research can be helpful to get more out of the sessions with users and how to use the input of the users for next iterations of the design.
FMP workshop with children
During my Final Master Project I also directed my project towards a process in which the user would be highly involved. This worked out well, because of the network of stakeholders I was able to connect with my project. I learned several new methods within the field of participation design, which I applied successfully in my project. (see project reflection and report) These methods will play an important role in my future career as a designer.
FBP Stakeholder Analysis
Design becomes meaningful for me if I can use it for other people. Therefore my most successful projects are those in which a lot of stakeholders are involved who actually care about what you create. Examples are my internship at Tinker Imagineers, my Final Bachelor Project and the research project with Smallplayer.
Final Demo-days M2.2
It has not always been a natural thing for me to communicate my ideas and vision in a way I could convince stakeholders to participate in my projects. My enthusiasm did some of the work, but during time at Industrial Design I really learned how to express myself academically and by design (graphically and physically).
Kindergarten children painting KnapStok
Communication is also a matter of practice I believe. I explored my context of design by visiting and talking to a lot to people. I learned to understand their perspective on the subject and used this to convince them to be part of my design projects. It also means I have to share my projects. This is most of times a lot of fun to do, but it can be painful as well. In the development of KnapStok with the kindergarten children, I let them paint my creation to make them more connected with the design. I had to give up some of my own ownership and proudness to be able to let the children in as stakeholders of the project.